Intensifying the battle against cancer and Alzheimer’s disease
Innovative research under the CIUSSS umbrella is performed at the Lady Davis Institute at the Jewish General Hospital as well as several other sites, under the academic auspices of McGill University. Investigators are addressing some of the most relevant concerns in health care, from cancer to Alzheimer’s disease to drug safety to the efficient delivery of health services.
Dr. Howard Chertkow joined dignitaries in 2014 at a JGH press conference in the Block Amphitheatre to announce the launch of the Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging.
Lady Davis Institute
Most notable of the many achievements at the Lady Davis Institute in 2015-2016 was the fact that LDI researchers continued to lead several national research programs that will enhance health care within CIUSSS West-Central Montreal and beyond.
Under Dr. Gerald Batist and Dr. Christoph Borcher (and in partnership with Genome BC), the Jewish General Hospital Proteomics Centre, based at the LDI, is part of the first pan-Canadian proteomics network, and is one of 10 members of Genome Canada’s Genomics Innovation Network. Novel technologies for protein identification and quantitative proteomic analysis are applied to tumour biopsies at the Molecular Pathology Centre of the JGH to identify the biochemical mechanisms that cause each individual patient’s cancer. This initiative is a powerful example of the application of precision medicine to patient care.
The Canadian Consortium for Neurodegeneration in Aging, launched with $32 million in funding from the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR) and other partners, is led by Dr. Howard Chertkow. This national network of more than 350 investigators coordinates research on Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. In light of Canada’s aging population, finding methods to alleviate the suffering of Alzheimer’s patients and their families is urgent.
Dr. Samy Suissa directs the Canadian Network for Observational Drug Effect Studies. With $17.5 million in initial funding from the CIHR, this network analyzes patient databases to evaluate the safety of drugs that are already on the market. Recent key results emerging from the LDI’s Centre for Clinical Epidemiology were that incretin?based drugs, used to treat type 2 diabetes, are not associated with an increased risk of pancreatic cancer or heart failure, as had been suspected.
The Canadian Venous Thromboembolism (VTE) Clinical Trials and Outcomes Research Network, co-directed by Dr. Susan Kahn, is a public-private consortium whose goal is to reduce the occurrence of VTE, improve diagnosis and therapeutic management, improve the safety of anticoagulant delivery, and enhance the quality of life of those affected by VTE, as well as to improve public awareness of this second-most common cardiovascular disorder. This research will have a major public health impact, because the total burden of VTE and its complications exceeds $600 million annually in Canada.
Social and community aspect
The University Affiliated Centre in Social Gerontology was renewed this year, as was the University Institute status for ethno-cultural communities, granted by the Ministry of Health and Social Services.
In updating these two university missions, we showed leadership by mobilizing quickly to meet the demands of these two departmental mandates. We developed training for healthcare and social services workers, ensuring that they were properly educated about the arrival of a massive number of Syrian refugees (SHERPA). We also developed a model policy to fight abuse of the elderly in Quebec retirement homes (CREGÉS).
It is also worth noting that several promising projects having received grants and are being led by members of the Research Team. For example:
- a Canada-wide study on improving palliative care in long-term care facilities, based on a participative approach (CREGÉS)
- an electronic tablet (iPad) used in rehabilitating visually impaired elderly individuals (CRIR)
- a tool that contributes to a reduction in avoidable transfers to Acute Care of clients in long-term care was identified to improve the global quality of care and services to residents (Donald Berman Maimonides Geriatric Centre)
To better understand the teams and the research activities that were conducted as part of our new direction, the “First Day on Social and Community Research” was implemented to bring together over 80 researchers, researchers-practitioner and managers. This event led to the identification of the needs of some clinical programs in terms of research. It also resulted in consideration being given to multidisciplinary collaborations among the various teams, in order to develop innovative solutions to complex situations with which we are confronted when offering care and services that are adapted to the clients in our area.